Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Beast: ANOTHER Idiocy Detour

So it's obvious, by now, that I despised didn't exactly care for Ms. Idiocy. Having a degree in English, it's difficult to accept an English teacher "wannabe" who knows NOTHING about the subject. I mean think about it. I spent five years in school, was paying a ridiculous student loan off, and had labored over grammar books, analyzing literature and writing papers. And here comes Ms. Bank Teller doing the same job, for *almost* the same pay, and with NO qualifications.

I tried, however, to be as cooperative as possible and to help her as much as I could.

We had this PLC thing going on, and with it we were supposed to make classes EXACTLY equal. They didn't want students learning "better" from one teacher or another, so we were all to do the SAME thing, which makes sense, right? Right. Good plan, Stan.

The problems arose when Ms. Idiocy couldn't keep up with Ms. Fatbelly and myself. She shared classes with us, but not with Mr. English. The three of us girls shared English II, so we were all to work together on planning that. That basically turned to Ms. Fatbelly and me doing all the work. Ms. Idiocy didn't know what allegory was. She didn't understand points of view, she couldn't grasp parallelism.

By October she was merely copying whatever plans Ms. Fatbelly had made for English II and whatever plans I was making for English I and (obviously) contributing NOTHING to the planning meetings. Ms. Fatbelly and I commiserated many times about the workload we were carrying for three people, and how frustrating it was that we had to do our jobs and hers.

We let Mr. English in on the problem, and he relayed the problems to The Beast.

In the meantime, we tried to work with her, but she always had an excuse for why things weren't working. What she really hated, was that I always had a response for her excuses.

"My sophomores REFUSE to do bellwork, or else they take all hour," she defended when we confronted her about (always) being behind.
"Then write them up for refusal to do work. You're the adult. They can't dictate your class, or you'll always be behind," I said unsympathetically. She is the one who took a job knowing she didn't know Jack Shit about English.

"My kids don't read if I assign it as homework. We HAVE to read everything in class."
"We can't do that," Ms. Fatbelly said.
"Are you reading the stories at home, or are you reading them with the kids in class?" I challenged. I knew what she was doing. She was reading everything in class because she didn't want to have to study it at home. That, however, is part of being an English teacher.

Finally The Beast called Mr. English, Ms. Fatbelly and me to a meeting in the lounge. It dismissed Ms. Idiocy when she tried to come in.

"Are you guys having a problem with Ms. Idiocy?" It challenged. Neither of us knew what to say. We didn't want to talk to The Beast about Its Golden Child. Mr. English finally spoke up.

"She doesn't know what she's doing. You can't just throw someone in an English classroom and expect them to be able to teach it. She needs to be studying or doing something to better prepare," he offered. Ms. Fztbelly folded like a lawn chair, saying she couldn't say anything because she was a new teacher as well, and she felt Ms. Idiocy was doing her best.

"She's not reading ahead. She's letting the kids run the class, and when she's not prepared, kids KNOW that," I offered. I didn't want to say too much. "I think she can do a good job if she'll just prepare a little better," I sucked up. The Beast was clearly unhappy.

Of course, Ms. Idiocy painted us as harsh and unhelpful. I wasn't sure what more to do with her. She was let off the hook on planning, and she didn't have to take on any units of her own.

I e-mailed her in November and gave her the rough outline for the rest of the year so she could stay on track. I encouraged her to come by my room every morning if she needed to to get on track for the day. I also told her that we were doing Romeo and Juliet when we came back from Christmas, and that it would be a good idea to read it, watch the movie, and be ready before school started in January.

We came back from Christmas break and she came in for lesson plans. She looked at my book. "Whoa. I didn't know we were doing Romeo and Juliet," she said. "There is no way I am ready for that," she confessed, looking at me stupidly.

"I don't know what to tell you," I told her. "I'm giving notes over Shakespeare today and tomorrow," I said, handing her a copy of my notes. That will give you a couple of days to get prepared.

I didn't hear anything else from her that week, though I did notice her in The Beast's office after school that day. I figured she was telling her what a mean bitch I was, but I didn't care. I had PROOF that we'd discussed doing Romeo and Juliet in January so I couldn't very well get in trouble for it.

The next week, Ms. Idiocy didn't come in for lesson plans. I was perplexed, but figured it wasn't my job to baby her any more than we already were.

In class that day a student raised her hand.

"Yes, ma'am?" I called.
"How come the other English class isn't doing Shakespeare?" she challenged.
"They are," I argued.
"No, they're not," she said firmly.
"They have to. With this PLC stuff we have to do the exact same thing EVERY day," I explained.
"Well, they're not doing it. They're doing grammar," she told me. I raised my eyebrows, not sure how to explain to her the fairness of them doing grammar. Freshmen HATE Shakespeare btw ;)

I went to Ms. Idiocy after school. "Are you not doing Romeo and Juliet?" I asked her point-blank.

"No. I talked to Beasty and It told me I didn't have to since I wasn't ready," she explained. I was furious. She HAD gone and whined about me, giving The Beast even more ammunition.

"OK. Well good luck, then," I said, letting her know I'd written her off and that she was on her own with her lesson plans. I knew I would suffer for this, and I knew she'd be painted as the perfect teacher.

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